Friday, October 17, 2008
Jeff Mangum makes rare live appearance.
Jeff Mangum, the reclusive singer and mastermind of Neutral Milk Hotel, made a rare live appearance the other day at the NYC stop on the Elephant 6 Holiday Suprise Tour (a large gathering of original Elephant 6 collective musicians playing the music of The Olivia Tremor Control, The Music Tapes, Elf Power and others). Mangum is most famous for NMH's magnum opus "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea," which many critics consider one of the greatest albums ever made. After the tour for that album ended in 1998, Mangum has made only a handful of live appearances, turning down all show requests, including an opening slot for fellow Athens, Georgia scenesters REM.
Many hoped that Mangum would appear at one or more of these shows along the way. The lucky New York City audience wasn't disappointed. Fans chanted "Jeff, Jeff, Jeff" and shouted out requests for anything from "Aeroplane." Mangum only appeared three times during the long set, first stepping out discreetly for a chorus of Elf Power's "The Arrow Flies Close," then during Olivia Tremor Controls "I Have Been Floated." The icing on the cake was during the closing song "The Opera House," also by OTC. Mangum sang throughout the whole song with a look of intensity in his eyes, at one point tackling fellow NMH/OTC member Scott Spillane.
We can only hope that this is not the last we see of Mangum. A new release? A tour? Throw us a bone.